Reading Group Guide
A Guide for Teachers
What Does Peace Feel Like?
by Vladimir Radunsky
About the Book
What does that word really mean? Ask children from around the world, and you'll get an array of responses, a selection of which you can find in Vladimir Radunsky's book What Does Peace Feel Like?
Simple text and illustrations portray what peace looks, sounds, tastes, feels, and smells like to children around the world in this thought-provoking book by author and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky.
1. The word "peace" has many different meanings, including freedom from war, the absence of fights and disagreements, and serenity. Think about your own definition of the word "peace." What does peace really mean to you?
2. In What Does Peace Feel Like?, children from around the world use their senses to answer questions about peace, such as "What does peace taste like?" and "What does peace look like?" What would your answers be to the same questions? Using the book as inspiration, try to come up with questions that will further explore your views about peace. Some ideas: What kind of animal is peace? What holiday is peace? What color is peace? Compare and contrast your answers with those of your classmates.
3. Each question about peace in the book triggers many different responses. Which comments surprise you? Which ones do you agree or disagree with?
4. The observations in What Does Peace Feel Like? are provided by students at the Ambrit International School in Rome, Italy. According to the school Web site (www.ambrit-rome.com), Ambrit International has a diverse school population - 480 students representing 50 nationalities. Take a moment to think about diversity in your school. What is the benefit of having a diverse population? How does embracing diversity ultimately promote peace?
5. While peace is an important concept for the world, peace is also an important way of thinking, acting, and living. Think about how your thoughts and actions can help make the following places more peaceful: your school or classroom, your home. Do you sometimes feel that you can do better at promoting peace in these places?
6. People help to maintain peace in our world every day. Who helps keep peace in your family? In your school? In your town? In your country? Talk about the different or similar methods of peacekeeping for each place.
7. Think or talk about a conflict or problem you may have in your life right now. Brainstorm peaceful solutions to this problem.
8. How is America as a nation currently struggling with peace, and how has America struggled with peace in the past? Discuss places in the world that are also struggling with peace issues today.
9. Vladimir Radunsky says, "Just imagine what we could build with peace." What do you imagine you could build with peace?
10. On first glance, What Does Peace Feel Like? appears to be a simply written and illustrated book. Yet the topic of peace is hardly a simple one. In what ways did you find this out by reading this book? What else did you learn from reading this book?
Activities and Projects
1. Host a "peace day" in your classroom. Some ideas include creating a "Peace Is" display or bulletin board in your classroom, serving snacks based on the "What does peace taste like?" answers in the book, and electing a student peacekeeper for the classroom. Ask your students how else they would like to celebrate peace on this special day.
2. Embracing diversity in our lives is important in maintaining and promoting peace in the world. Encourage your students to learn more about diverse neighborhoods or communities in their town. How do diverse communities ultimately promote peace?
3. There are many people in the world whose mission in life has been to promote peace. As a class, find out more about significant peacemakers of the world, both past and present. Some key names to consider are Martin Luther King Jr., Princess Diana, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Nelson Mandela. Why did these people become involved with promoting peace? Were they or are they ultimately successful in their mission?
4. Find out more about the Nobel Peace Prizes. What is the origin of the prizes and who awards them? What are the criteria to win? Why are the Nobel Peace Prizes important in the world today?
5. There are many organizations committed to promoting peace in the world, such as the United Nations and the Peace Corps. As a class, find out more about the United Nations and the Peace Corps through research in books or on the Internet. What are some other organizations dedicated to promoting peace in the world?
5. The dove and the peace sign are two universally known symbols of peace in the world. Find out more about these and other symbols of peace. How did the dove come to represent peace? What is the origin of the peace sign? What are some other symbols of peace used in the world today?
6. Author and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky highlights the many ways to say "peace" in different languages throughout the book. There is also a comprehensive list of "words of peace" on the inside back cover of the book. Ask each student in your class to select one of the languages included in the list, and have them find out more about the language (for example, where is it spoken?).
7. Communicating with a pen pal from another country is an excellent way for your students to learn more about the world and peace. Research the possible ways to obtain pen pals for your students.
8. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of What Does Peace Feel Like? will be donated to an organization called CARE. Find out more about CARE. What is their goal, and what do they do? Where do they do most of their work around the world? How else can you help to support CARE?
Further resources: www.dosomethingforpeace.org
What Does Peace Feel Like?
By Vladimir Radunsky
An Anne Schwartz Book
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available wherever books are sold.
This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
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